Results from statewide wastewater testing released
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – As part of the Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent public health order on gun violence and drugs, the state is testing wastewater for opioids. Now we have results from schools statewide.
KOB 4 already got a look at the findings from some metro schools, but is the data similar in other parts of the state?
State leaders say these results should help lawmakers come up with more specific plans for tackling drugs in various communities.
The statewide results are from 106 schools. They’re right on track with what we saw from the metro school results last month. However, there is less fentanyl in the wastewater outside the state’s two biggest cities.
The state tested specifically for 11 opioids and metabolites, which is the substance a drug turns into when it processes through the body.
In the metro, there were traces of fentanyl, and it’s metabolite in a quarter of the schools. Six of the 24 tested. There is legal fentanyl in some prescribed pain medication.
In the 106 schools the state has now tested, fentanyl and its metabolite showed up in eight schools outside the metro – or 13% of all the schools tested.
Director of UNM’s Center on Alcohol, Substance Use and Addictions says some people take fentanyl without even knowing it.
“What’s really concerning now is the drug supply is so unsafe and filled with really toxic, deadly substances and often with disguise. Someone might think they’re using cocaine when they’re really getting cocaine laced with fentanyl,” said Witkiewitz.
The only illegal opioid on that list is heroin. It didn’t show up in a single school in the metro, and it didn’t show up at all outside the metro either.
“The supply is not pure heroin anymore, it’s not what you get on the street. You get a mix of other opioids, and it’s very challenging to find pure heroin that’s not what’s in the market, that’s not what’s in the supply,” said Witkiewitz.
Cocaine showed up in 75% of the schools in the metro. Outside the metro, cocaine showed up in 43 of the 82 schools. In total, we’re seeing traces of cocaine, and it’s metabolite in 63% of the schools tested so far.
Meth and amphetamine showed up nearly everywhere, but ADHD medication could be to blame. Witkiewitz says that tracks with research she’s seen.
“We are seeing a resurgence of amphetamines generally in New Mexico. Cocaine and methamphetamine so stimulant usage is up here so that’s reflective in this data,” Witkiewitz said.
The state has posted all the results to their wastewater opioid testing dashboard.
To view the full statewide wastewater test results, click here.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
- New Mexico Prevention
- National Drug Early Warning System
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- American Academy of Child & Psychiatry
- CDC: Preventing youth substance use